Very interesting petition from a French citizen. What strikes me is that the petitioner asked for regulatory changes while the Commission in its answer restricts itself to positive law, positive competition law.
Committee on Petitions
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
Subject: Petition 0852/2010 by Kevin Brawn (British), on restriction of the freedom of choic when buying personal computers in France
1. Summary of petition
The petitioner claims that foreigners living in France could only purchase laptops/notebooks with operating systems in French. He criticizes the lack of options and argues that this situation would cause serious problems to EU citizens who work in France, but do not have a good command of French. He explains that the situation would be similar in other EU Member States (Germany, Portugal). He requests that the European Parliament take measures to have companies like Microsoft or Acer end this restrictive practice.
Declared admissible on 15 November 2010. Information requested from Commission under Rule 202(6).
3. Commission reply, received on 11 February 2011.
The Petitioner complains that he can only buy a PC with a Windows operating system in the language of the country where he is located, namely France. He also explains that the situation is the same in other Member States. He argues that this situation can create problems for citizens living in France but not having a good command of French, and discriminates against these citizens. The Petitioner would want to have the option to set the language of the Windows operating system. He finally requests that the Parliament takes measures to have companies like Acer or Microsoft end these restrictive practices.
The Commission’s observations on the petition
Under European competition law, companies have the freedom to decide whether and what to sell in which country. There is no European competition law rule that would oblige Microsoft, even if it were held to be dominant on the client PC operating system market, to market the same range of products or services in all EU Member States, or that would oblige it to sell all language versions of a given product in all EU Member States. Moreover, the Commission has currently no evidence of vertical agreements between companies involved in the production or distribution of PCs that would restrict the sale in one
In view of the lack of any substantial information pointing to an infringement of the law of the European Union, the Commission considers that it is not warranted to launch, at this stage, any further investigation.